January 22, 2020
Top UX Design Tips to Build a Seamless Online Experience
Designing a smart website is a complex task even when we’re in an age where applications and software provide a great deal of assistance. It also doesn’t help when our competitors’ are sprouting like mushrooms – along with their own smarter websites. UX design is one major component of your website that needs your undivided attention, especially in early development stages.
The web designers of today are posed with the premise of applying the latest technology to create the best User Experience (UX) for their websites. This may be a challenge due to the fact that UX doesn’t just rely on style and artistry but also on functionality and interaction with the audience and visitors of your website.
There are a lot of expert tips and guidelines that you can see online. You can just search and find them yourself. However, we want to make you feel how important you are to us, so we collated the most accurate ones (as we have experienced them ourselves). Alongside our years of experience in the industry, we’re sharing with you the best UX design tips on how to build a smarter website.
Keep Your Website Content as Simple as Possible
Your website shouldn’t look like a newspaper. Remember the fact that your audience doesn’t like to read; they just skim through your content. For this very reason, you should only place the most important items on your pages. Make sure that every page of your website is scannable.
Haven’t you noticed that the best websites out there predominantly use bullet points on their homepage? This is a form of decluttering the page. Limit the text that you place on your homepage by placing just a few of the “most important” items as an overview. Dedicate another page for detailed information about the products, services, and your company.
For your visual presentations, only choose the images or videos that may bring value to your page. Don’t stack pages with excessive visuals that will make your website look more of a photo album rather than a presentation of your brand. Large-sized visual content could also affect your site’s responsiveness and loading speed (more on that below).
However, there may be a few exceptions to this rule (e.g. an artist’s website).
Design for Mobile
Designing websites to be mobile-friendly has become crucial to any brand’s online success. Web designs that have been solely designed for desktop view is a thing of the past. The internet giant goes as far as devaluing websites that are not mobile-friendly. Mobile users, who account for 51% of global internet traffic surely won’t like it either. Website responsiveness should be among the top items on your list in the designing phase.
To make sure your website is fully optimised for mobile, the following are some tips to consider in the designing of the pages.
Mobile-Friendly Designing Tips
- Use optimum sizes for your buttons and interface elements. Do consider the (thumb) size of the user on their smartphones or tablets.
- Menu, links, and other clickable buttons should be strategically placed in areas easily reachable by the thumb (thumb zone) on smartphones.
- Make links stand out and always include changing their colours when clicked.
- Allow the user to personalise their experience while on your website.
- Remove distractions and aim for a seamless UX design.
- Avoid using double-taps. Mobile users find it annoying.
- Keep the website hierarchy at two levels deep.
- Don’t overload your website with images that could deteriorate your page loading speed.
- Be conscious of r-e-a-d-a-b-i-l-i-t-y
- Easy navigation, vertical scrolling, sticky menus as well as visible login buttons and forms are very important.
- Always include an intuitive search menu.
There are a lot more mobile-friendly tips and guidelines that we could add to the list. However, the list we presented above is what we consider “must-haves” and should always be present.
Optimise Your Page Loading Speed
Modern websites of today are generally developed to cater to mobile devices. In other words, websites should load fast. Users are always on-the-go and may not have access to a high-speed internet connection. if your website isn’t loading fast enough as a standard, then you’re at risk of users bouncing off your site.
Here’s a rule of thumb:
You have at most three seconds to keep your users waiting for your website to load. If you exceed that short window of time, half of your site visitors will be gone. At six seconds, 100% of your visitors will bounce off.
We advise keeping your pages as lean as possible. Avoid using large images that could take a toll on your loading speed. A simple trick that we use to work around this problem is compressing large images and text on our pages that could significantly improve loading times by as much as 25%. The lower the bytes, the better.
Design For Your Audience
The most innovative designs won’t matter if they don’t attract the right audience. Ensure that your page content and design work harmoniously to connect with your audience. Give them the feeling that they’re at home, they’re in the right place, and you have exactly what they’re looking for. This is a core principle in UX design.
Know your users. “A website built for everyone will please no one.” Identify your users’ demographics, behaviour, pain-points, hobbies and lifestyle. Place yourself in your audience’s shoes. Ask yourself: “What do I need most?”. Create a persona, just like what marketers do.
Once you have a customised list, start constructing your site from the ground up. See to it that your content, colour scheme, and your fonts would match the persona of your target audience. Prioritise the solutions to their problems more than anything else.
Rather than filling up your website with content showcasing your accomplishments, generate pages that will give your audience a website tailor-made for them and their needs. It’s also now possible to customise your presentation based on a user’s activity. Only the useful content will pop out and it’s based on how the user interacts with the buttons on your site. Try it.
Empower the User
We’ve learned during our multiple years of experience is: you can’t please everyone. However, along the same route, we discovered: our websites’ users want to be empowered. They’d always want to navigate the site as freely as possible. This means a core focus should be put on user journey – understanding what your user wants to find next and purposely serving an interlinked page for them.
In short, your UX design should provide features and have certain aspects that can improve the users’ experience, make their lives better, and allow them to engage with you. The modern designers of today don’t only think about aesthetics and interaction when they think about UX. Human emotions are now included in the development process, particularly empathy.
Empathy is now a word commonly thrown around amongst internal development team members. The development of websites now includes the intricacies of triggering empathy to and from the users. We’d want users to know that we feel what they feel as well as impose on them to feel the same towards us.
Here are some ways on how to empower your users through your UX designs.
- Your roadmap should focus on helping the users get to where they want to.
- Include the users’ preferences, requirements, and comfort levels right from the start of the development process.
- Only include features that your users need.
- Be consistent in the flow of patterns and interfaces.
- Guide them throughout their journey. Be with them as they navigate.
- Allow the user to share his/her experiences on social media.
Humans thrive when we feel empowered. When your users enjoy their stay on your website, they’ll start to develop trust and loyalty towards your brand. These are ultimately our goals, right?
Let Your Design Tell a Story
After taking some time focusing on your audience and their needs, this section is dedicated to you and how you should design your website for your own exigencies. We have our own goals for our business. Use your design as a medium to connect your audience with your products and services. Tell your story through your design or let design tell your story. In short, your design should reflect your brand.
People love stories. Storytelling is a powerful tool UX designers can use to make the users’ journey exciting, emotional, and even more personal. This is your opportunity to bring your users into your world and know your brand in-depth.
Here are key items to remember:
- Use your design to present your brand’s very own journey.
- Tell a compelling story that can resonate with your audience.
- Use the power of persuasion.
- Develop a strong narrative for your brand.
- Never lose track of your own goals.
Interaction-design.org has nailed it with their Aristotle’s 7 Elements of Good Storytelling. This is an excellent guide for storytelling in UX/UI designing.
Don’t Be Ashamed to Copy the Best Designs Out There
There’s nothing wrong with checking out the top websites in your industry and on the internet as a whole. Imitation is a form of flattery, as they say. There are reasons why these websites are on top. They are the frontrunners because they did something better than the rest. Look at how they did their UX/UI designs. Try to apply the focal points on your own website.
By doing this, it will not just improve the design skills of your team but also place your website and your work at the level of the best in the industry. Recreating the best work of others will also teach you the best qualities of a good UX design.
Train your eyes to easily catch what a good UX design looks and “feels” like. From the visuals, typography, white spaces, button mapping, the medium used, and the flow. Get out of your comfort zone. Take the challenge of matching or even creating something better than your inspirations.
For an in-depth look at what forms of typography may work best for your brand, make sure to check out our previous blog post.
Creating a smart website is not a walk in the park. It takes a lot of time and patience to understand the complexities of a single project fully. The improvements in technology and software used in UX design may have made website construction easier but added a few kinks as the industry progressed.
We are now in an age when almost any kind of intuitive UX design is possible. With such possibilities come greater expectations from the users. They’ll be expecting us to provide them with the best and most comfortable experiences as they traverse through our websites. Why shouldn’t they? The industry leaders can provide them with that. Let’s show we can do it too.
The smarter website of today is characterised by the ability to provide the highest degree of user experience – those that have harnessed the power of the latest technology and human emotion felt by the user as they visit the website.
We hope that our UX design tips have provided some new insights that will help you in building a smarter website. What do you think of the UX design tips we mentioned above? Share your thoughts.